Losing Strength While Cutting? 5 Quick Fixes


What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj, www.SeanNal.com and today
I’m going to be outlining five main tips you should follow if you are losing strength
while cutting. Unless you’re going through a prolong cutting
phase and you’re dropping a large amount of overall bodyweight or you’re cutting
down temporarily to a very lean bodyfat percentage for a certain event then you really shouldn’t
be losing much strength if your fatloss plan is properly structured. You should be able to at least maintain your
strength throughout the beginning phases and if you are going to lose strength it should
only be happening as you get deeper into the cut, and even then it should be modest. You know, maybe losing a couple reps on smaller
isolation lifts and maybe a very modest reduction in weight on those larger compound lifts. It does depend on how much total bodyweight
you’re losing and how lean you’re trying to get, of course. If you’re a two hundred and thirty pound
power lifter who decides to lean down to a hundred and ninety pounds then obviously you
can expect to lose a more significant amount of strength just from a decrease in your overall
leverages. Or let’s say you’re cutting down to seven
percent bodyfat for a contest then obviously you’re going to be more depleted overall
and that’s going to affect your strength more so. But for most average lifters doing a standard
moderate cutting phase, strength loss should be minor if anything. Some people can fully maintain their strength
while cutting and others can even gain some strength, especially if they’re still a
relative beginner. So if you are feeling considerably weaker
and your weights are decreasing rapidly it definitely should be a cause for concern and
it’s a pretty clear sign that there is something wrong with the structure of your program and
that you’re putting yourself at risk for excessive muscle loss. So, five aspects of your program to take a
look at if this is the case for you. So, the first is the most basic and the most
obvious one, and that is that your daily calorie intake is simply too low. So if you drop your calories too low then
your ability to recover in between workouts is going to be compromised and you’ll also
have less resources available to fuel your actual training performance. More aggressive deficits are usually okay
in the short term for some people if it’s only being done for a few weeks but eventually
it will catch up to you. So if you’re losing strength on a cut then
take a look at your daily calorie intake and take a look at how quickly you are losing
body weight from week to week. For most people a standard five hundred calorie
deficit is going to be a good balance between losing fat at a decent pace but also maintaining
muscle size and strength. And if you’re losing any more than about
one to two pounds per week on an ongoing basis then you’ll probably want to up your calories
a bit until you’re falling somewhere within that range. Those who are more overweight and were carrying
more fat can usually get away with losing weight a bit quicker, whereas if you’re
already within a healthy bodyfat range and you’re just trying to cut down leaner while
maintaining as much size and strength as possible closer to about one pound per week is going
to be more appropriate for you. The second thing to look at is your macro
nutrient breakdown. So you don’t need to obsess over every single
gram of protein, carbs and fats that you’re eating everyday but if there is a glaring
imbalance in there it definitely can have a negative effect on your strength levels. For example, if protein is too low then you
won’t properly recover in between workouts. And if it’s too high then your carbohydrate
intake is probably going to end up too low in which case your workout performance is
going to suffer. If fat is too high then either protein or
carbs could be too low, and if fat is too low then your hormone levels are going to
fall out of balance and you’re going to feel a lot worse physically and mentally and
that could impact your workouts as well. So again, this doesn’t need to be perfect
but during a focused cutting phase your macro nutrient breakdown does become a bit more
important because you have fewer total calories to work with and there’s a better chance
that one of the three will end up too low. So to make sure that you’re getting enough
protein for adequate recovery, enough carbs to fuel your workouts and enough fat to keep
your brain function an your motivation in check a good basic breakdown is to go with
0.8 to one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily, you don’t need more protein than
this even if you are cutting. Get twenty-five percent of your total calories
from fat and then fill in the remaining calories with carbs and if you’re not sure how to
calculate this then I’ll put it in the description box below for you to check out. Just try to land somewhere around those numbers
and your chance of losing strength while cutting or losing muscle is going to be much lower. Tip number three to maintain strength while
cutting is don’t go overboard on cardio. So I always recommend that people include
some cardio during the week not just as a way of burning additional calories and preventing
your calorie intake from having to drop too low but also just for overall physical and
mental health. But a lot of people do tend to get a bit excessive
with it during the fatloss phase. You don’t need to be running on the treadmill
five or six days a week in order to lose fat and if you do perform too much cardio you’re
going to be interfering with your recovery weight training. Remember that since you’re in a calorie
deficit, your recovery ability is already lower than normal. And that’s going to make it much more likely
that you will lose strength, especially if you perform your cardio pre-workout, which
I don’t recommend doing. So a bit of cardio is fine but I wouldn’t
recommend exceeding three weekly session as a starting point and try to do it separately
from weight training if you can or at the very least do it post workout. And only increase your cardio frequency from
there if it becomes necessary later on in your cut. Tip number four is to keep your basic weight
training approach the same as it was when you were bulking. A lot of lifters fall into the trap of thinking
that heavier weight compound exercises for lower reps builds muscle and lighter weight
isolation exercises for higher reps burns fat and shapes the muscle, which is totally
false because you can’t spot reduce fat from specific areas of your body and the only
thing you can actually do with weight training is to make a particular muscle as a whole
bigger or smaller. Muscle definition is just a product of your
overall bodyfat percentage in combination with how much total muscle mass you’re carrying
and it has nothing to do with which specific exercises you perform or how many reps you’re
doing per set. So if you do switch to a light weight high
rep plan, all you’re really doing is weakening the overall training stimulus which is going
to cause you to lose strength and lose muscle mass much more quickly. And tip number five, if the previous four
points are taken care of, so you’re eating in only a moderate calorie deficit with a
reasonably balance macro nutrient breakdown, you’re not performing too much cardio and
you’re continuing to train in the gym with basic moderate to heavyweight sets as the
foundation of your workouts. If you’re doing all of that and you’re
still losing strength quickly you can try cutting back on your overall training volume. It’s not always necessary to reduce your
training volume during a cut because it does depend on how much you were doing in the first
place as well as other factors but if your strength is continuing to drop try cutting
your total workload by about twenty-five percent to start and then see if that helps. Remember that your primary goal during a cut
is to provide enough training stimulus to maintain your existing muscle and so you don’t
need to be in the gym six days a week with high volume workouts in order to do that since
your recovery resource is going to be limited in the calorie deficit and performing too
much work can actually start to work against you if you aren’t careful. So those are the five main tips I’d give
if you find that you are losing strength on a cut. And as long as those are taken care of it
should correct things for you. If you really want to fully optimize thing
though I’ll give you three more smaller quick tips here that you can employ as well
before I close out the video. The first is that if you are currently training
in the morning you can try moving your workouts into the later afternoon or the evening if
it does suit your schedule. And the reason for that is because strength
levels do technically peak later on in the day and that could help to give you a small
extra boost. The second is to start incorporating a weekly
re-feed day into your plan. I’ll link a post that I did on that in the
description box but this is basically where you just eat at your calorie maintenance level
once a week with the increase coming from carbs. And then take that re-feed day and position
it the day before your most challenging workout of the week. Or you could even do this twice a week depending
on how deep you are into your cut and how lean you’re trying to get. And then lastly if you currently don’t use
anything other than regular food as your pre workout fuel you can try incorporating a basic
pre workout supplement stack into your program as well in order to up your performance a
bit. Caffeine being the most effective but I will
link a video in the description box that I did a while back that outlines my recommended
homemade pre workout stack. So I hope these tips were helpful. If you’re not quite sure how to lay out
a fully structured cutting plan in order to maximize fatloss while fully minimizing muscle-loss
and strength-loss then you can download my Body Transformation Blueprint by clicking
here or by heading over to www.BodyTransformationTruth.com, the link is in the description that includes
all of my recommended workouts, meal plans and supplement guides for doing that along
with information for bulking phases as well. Make sure to like, comment and subscribe if
you found the video useful. My official blog is over at www.SeanNal.com
and you can follow me here as well if you aren’t already, the links for that are also
in the description box. Thanks for watching, guys. And I will see you in the next video.

67 Replies to “Losing Strength While Cutting? 5 Quick Fixes”

  1. The videos you post are always the things I am thinking about! Thanks Sean, I appreciate all the great content😁

  2. Love this channel. I had guys ask me have i lost strength since I've been cutting for 13 weeks and when I tell them I'm not they think I'm enhanced LOL

  3. can you make a video on how 16-17 yearolds find out their maintenance, muscle building, fatloss calories because in my fitnesspal you have to be older than 18

  4. When i did my first cut, all my lifts went down dramatically. I did all the wrong things like doing excessive cardio, not reducing my workouts and my calories were way too low…it was a recipe for disaster. This video was released right on time, because I have just begun my second ever cut and now I have the tools to not fuck it up like last time, thanks Sean, the video arrived just on time 🙂 I'll have to look for a bulking video for when I bulk again, not sure if you made a video on that.

  5. what if strength loss already happened drastically.. would this tips help you regain it or just prevent future strength loss… and if it wont help you regain it would it be ideal to go to maintetance to regain the loss srength then continue the cut

  6. Hi Sean
    i have found your channel 2 months ago and i'm very glad i did because your videos are very informative!
    one question though, how about BCAA supplements while cutting, and what to do with creatine intake?

  7. Need help guys. I'm currently on a pre-workout off cycle that started yesterday and I lost a lot of strength and energy(I lost like 30% of my strength) in my sets (did shoulders btw). I have 13 days to go without taking it. How do you think should I approach this? PS: I always workout after my work (energy demanding work), so I'm kind of tired after that's why pre-workout really helps me a lot.

  8. Hi Sean, is it okay to train Forearms and Abs twice a week? Also is it okay to train them both a day before a baseball game? i dont want it to effect my ability to grip the bat properly. Thank you!

  9. Another tip I'd recommend is start taking creatine (if you aren't already) in the cutting phase, since it will make easier to maintain the workout volume thus reducing the chance of muscle and strength loss, without impacting on the caloric balance.

  10. I hurt my back and wasn't able to lift for six weeks. It made me appreciate and be grateful for every workout I have since then. We should never take for granted being passionate about exercise and how wonderful it makes us feel mentally and physically. I can't imagine how people who don't exercise feel!

  11. hey Sean i just completed my first contest yesterday.And im not sure what my workout and diet would be after contest. i was cutting and working out intensively like everyday whole week for last 2 months.

  12. I always wanted to know.. what's the difference between powerlifters and bodybuilders? can someone tell me?

  13. You are the best fitness youtuber Sean.Because you are not a naked poser and you are not presenting some small details as a miracle such as 78 meals per day,bcaa supplementation etc… I think that makes your subscriber less confused and less depresive about what they need to buy when they need to do, ,and consistent with their diet and gym and in my opinion consistency is the most important thing in this sport.In long term statistically your subscribers will have best physique because of that. It would be great to see a video about plateau and how to increase the weight of lifts.(I mean pause reps, forced reps,more sets,frequency…which one would help to increase)

  14. Great video. Love the way you write down everything so I can take notes for my future reference later. Please add the bonus points to the description as they are very helpful too.

  15. Seriously, this channel is my number one source of fitness information on YouTube. Straight to the point, no nonsense. No funny stuff, just plain critical scientific information. Great Sean.

  16. So don't have low protein and if protein to high, fats to low, or carbs to high, so it should be almost the same

  17. If people eat at maintaince and lift heavy still, willl the gain muscle or will they just keep there muscle and won't gain muscle anymore. Cause you r staying at maintaince

  18. Or just do intermitting fasting to lose fat, but still eat your calories, if it's at maintaince or higher. You do lose fat tbh

  19. On my diet I'm eating 234g of carbs fats 80 of 90g protein 145g but if your not that active it should be lower so should your calories

  20. How bout on off days should we still be eating are calories, should you eat every day at your same deficit. It's better at the afternoon cause you get to eat enough calories through out the day then have more strength. In the morning all you eat is a little and not enough carbs for your workout

  21. My gf actually gets STRONGER, way stronger during a cut. She goes from a naturally lean 12% bf year round (always had a 6 pack) to 8% and lifts go way up (yes natural).

  22. My favorite bodybuilding channels. I like to call them the 6-Pack:
    1. Sean Nalewanyj
    2. Gravity Transformation
    3. Athlean X
    4. Buff Dudes
    5. Every Damn Day Fitness
    6. Paul Revelia

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